New report claims the iPhone 16 might be a total dud – but should we trust it?

iPhone 15 front handheld angled
The iPhone 16 might not be much of an upgradeeover last year's iPhone 15, above (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The iPhone 15 might be one of the best smartphones you can buy, but a new report has predicted that its successor, the iPhone 16, won’t come anywhere near it. In fact, if the report is correct the iPhone 16 might be an upgrade to skip completely.

That’s according to the analysts at Barclays, at least (via 9to5Mac). The group’s latest research note claims that the outlook is bleak for Apple in the coming year, with “weakness on iPhone volumes and mix, as well as a lack of bounce-back in Macs, iPads, and wearables.”

Perhaps the harshest words are reserved for the iPhone 16. Barclays says that “we see no features or upgrades that are likely to make the iPhone 16 more compelling,” suggesting that the next iPhone could be a total dud – at least in the analysts’ opinion.

The report is also gloomy about Mac sales volume and Apple services performance for the coming year – and it makes no mention of the Vision Pro at all, perhaps due to the low sales expectations for the device. All in all it's hardly painting a rosy picture of Apple’s future.

A gloomy outlook

The claim that the iPhone 16 will lack any “compelling” features is an interesting one, as it’s not entirely reflected in the rumors we’ve seen elsewhere. Is the Barclays report inaccurate, or do its analysts know something that no one else does?

Elsewhere, we’ve seen reports that the iPhone 16 range will feature haptic buttons and a new 'Capture' control, an improved camera system, new sizes and a major chip upgrade. One leak has even claimed that Apple will use graphene tech to keep the phones cool. So, while some of those rumors might be wide of the mark, there’s still a lot that could make it into Apple’s next phone lineup.

That said, it’s often best to err on the side of caution when it comes to Apple. The company prefers a patient approach rather than rushing features out the door, and that often leads to delays, and rumors that prove not to be accurate. With that in mind, the Barclays report’s reserved outlook might end up being on the money.

Or it could be overly pessimistic – at this stage we’ve got no way of knowing for sure. While Apple fans will be hoping there will indeed be a lot to get excited about with the iPhone 16, we’ll have to wait until its launch, likely in September, to know for sure.

Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.